Jul 09 2020

Weekly Immigration Update: July 3-9, 2020

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Guyana, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal , Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Republic of the Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, The Bahamas, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela

In immigration news this week:

  • Worldwide: Jurisdictions around the world continue to adapt their coronavirus-related travel restrictions and quarantine measures, and many have implemented extension policies and other concessions. Visit Fragomen’s coronavirus-related news page for the latest immigration updates.
  • United States: The Department of Homeland Security will roll back some COVID-19 online learning accommodations for F-1 and M-1 students during the Fall 2020 semester. Foreign students attending schools operating entirely online will not be permitted to take a full online course load and remain in the United States. Similarly, the State Department will not issue visas to foreign students, nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection admit them if they are enrolled in schools or programs that are fully online during the Fall 2020 semester.
  • Ireland: Starting July 20, the Irish government is opening the online Residence Card (IRP cad) renewal process to all non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and their dependents residing in Dublin. 
  • Belgium: Belgium has implemented the revised EU Posted Worker Directive and certain changes will take effect July 30. The revision should have limited effect as many of the rules were already applicable in Belgium.


These items and other news from Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Colombia, Denmark, Hong Kong SAR, and the United States follow in this edition of the Fragomen Immigration Update.


Important Updates in Immigration This Week

Belgium, July 8, 2020

Revised EU Posted Worker Directive Implemented

  • Belgium has implemented the revised EU Posted Worker Directive and certain changes will take effect July 30, 2020. The implementation will not have a significant impact on employees posted to Belgium since Belgium has broadly implemented the Posted Workers Directive.
  • Employers will need to take into account the application of almost all Belgian labour laws for long-term postings, with the exception of the rules related to the conclusion and the termination of employment contracts.
  • Additionally, there is an expected increase in Regional Employment Authorities’ scrutiny of salary compliance for work authorization applications involving posted workers


To view entire article, click here.


Ireland, July 7, 2020

New Online System for Residence Card Renewal for Dublin Residents

  • Starting July 20, 2020, all non-European Economic Area nationals residing in Dublin will be able to renew their Residence Cards (IRP cards) online, instead of having to appear at the Dublin Burgh Quay Registration Office by appointment.
  • Applicants will still need to mail their original passports to the authorities after completing the online process. It is still unclear how long applicants will need to wait for their passports to be returned (with the renewed card), so travel dates might be impacted.
  • The Dublin Burgh Quay Registration Office announced that it will re-open for initial registrations on July 20, 2020, after having been closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Between July 7 and 20, 2020, online applications can be made by those who urgently need to travel and require an IRP card to re-enter Ireland.
  • All non-residents who reside outside of Dublin will still be required to renew their IRP cards in person at their local Garda Station or Immigration Office; however, this type of registration remains suspended until further notice due to COVID-19 restrictions.


To view entire article, click here.


United States, July 6, 2020

DHS to Roll Back Some COVID-19 Online Learning Accommodations for Foreign Students During Fall 2020 Semester

  • F-1 students attending schools operating entirely online will not be permitted to take a fully online course of study and remain in the United States. The Department of State will not issue visas to, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection will not admit, students enrolled in schools or programs that are fully online for the Fall 2020 semester.
  • F-1 students attending schools operating partially online and partially in person may take more than one class or three credit hours online, with certification from their school.
  • F-1 students whose schools are operating fully online may study remotely from outside the United States and maintain an active SEVIS record.

To view entire article, click here.


Other Weekly News Briefs

Australia: Temporary Skill Shortage Visa Delays – The past three months has seen significant delays in the processing of Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa applications. This is predominantly due to the reprioritisation of Department of Home Affairs resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a strong focus on prioritising TSS applications for critical medical personnel and other essential workers involved in the response and keeping visa applicants lawfully in Australia. Fragomen has been consulting with the Department regarding these processing issues as well as other key issues impacting our clients. Processing times have been slowly improving, however we are still seeing TSS visa applications taking around eight weeks to be processed. MARN: 0004980

Azerbaijan: Longer Stay under Visa Waiver Agreement – Effective immediately, Turkish nationals will be eligible for visa-free entry into Azerbaijan for stays of up to 90 days for business, employment, personal, touristic and other purposes. Turkish nationals who stay in Azerbaijan for more than 90 days will be required to apply for the appropriate long-term visa or residence permit. Work is not permitted under the visa waiver.  

Bahrain: New Process Announced for Transfer of Sponsorship – The Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) announced a new temporary process for the transfer of sponsorship of foreign national employees in Bahrain, which will be in effect between July 1 and September 30, 2020. During this time, employers must cancel their employee’s current visa before a new employer can apply for a new work authorization for the employee. The new employer must also reimburse the previous sponsor for all government fees for the remainder of the work visa validity. Employers can calculate the exact amount that has to be reimbursed by submitting a ticket through the LMRA electronic portal. Previously, the transfer of employment sponsorship did not require a formal visa cancellation.

Colombia: PEP-RAMV Permits for Venezuelan Nationals Can be Renewed Migración Colombia has announced that Venezuelan nationals holding a Special Stay Permit (Permiso Especial de Permanencia – PEP-RAMV) issued during the Colombia census between August 1 and December 21, 2018 can renew their permit for two additional years. As published on their website, Migracion Colombia has allocated specific dates when eligible foreign nationals can begin to apply to renew their permit, depending on the issuance date of their current PEP. Interested applicants should contact their immigration professional for more information.

DenmarkPositive Lists Updated – The Danish government has updated the Positive List and has created a new list for skilled workers and has renamed the existing list as the Positive List for Highly-Educated workers. These lists designate shortage occupations which are eligible for a Positive List work authorization in Denmark. Normally, the list is updated twice a year, but due to COVID-19, the lists will remain unchanged until December 31, 2020.

Hong Kong SARShort-Term Entry Scheme Available for Eligible Persons Participating in Arbitral Proceedings – Effective June 29, 2020, foreign nationals from visitor visa-free jurisdictions who will be participating in arbitral proceedings as arbitrators, expert or fact witnesses, or counsel or parties, may enter and stay in Hong Kong SAR for a term not exceeding the relevant visa-free period for visitors of their nationality. Upon request, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center will issue Letters of Proof to relevant individuals that can be presented at immigration points upon arrival. Note that COVID-19-related travel restrictions still apply; specifically, since March 25 until further notice, all non-Hong Kong residents entering from overseas countries and regions by plane will be denied entry to Hong Kong SAR; and non-Hong Kong SAR residents coming from the Mainland, Macao SAR and Taiwan can enter Hong Kong SAR, but will be denied entry if they have been to any overseas countries/regions in the 14 days prior to their entry into Hong Kong. This Scheme is not available to residents of Mainland China, Macau SAR, Taiwan, or persons who require a visa or entry permit to visit Hong Kong SAR.

United States: Latest PERM and PWD Processing Times – As of June 30, 2020, the Department of Labor (DOL) was conducting analyst review for PERM applications filed in March 2020 or earlier, and processing audited cases filed in September 2019 or earlier. DOL is working on standard reconsideration requests submitted in May 2020 or earlier. DOL is issuing prevailing wage determinations (PWDs) for PERM and H-1B requests filed in March 2020. The agency has been processing PERM and H-1B redeterminations requested in May 2020. PERM center director reviews filed in June 2020 remain pending. These reports are available on the FLAG page.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.